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Dragon Ball Z Kai Part One (Blu-ray Review)

2 Jun, 2010 By: John Latchem

$49.98 two-DVD set, $54.98 two-disc Blu-ray
Not rated.

Based on a popular series of manga comic books, “Dragon Ball” has proved one of the most enduring anime series to come from Japan. The storylines center on a quest for seven mystical objects, called Dragon Balls, that when united can grant a wish.

The main character, Goku, is a superpowered alien sent as a baby from a doomed world to Earth, where he serves as something of a protector (shades of Superman), battling various villains who also seek the Dragon Balls.

The saga spans at least three series: the original “Dragon Ball,” which ran in Japan from 1986 to 1989; “Dragon Ball Z” (1989-96); and “Dragon Ball GT” (1996-97). The episodes were subsequently re-dubbed for American broadcast.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the middle series, “Dragon Ball Z Kai” re-edits the original episodes of “Dragon Ball Z” and remasters the animation for high-def. The storylines have been trimmed for pacing, damaged frames and filler material have been excised, and the audio tracks have been re-dubbed by the original cast. (The new subtitle “Kai” is a Japanese word for “revised.”)

The result is a taut anime action-adventure experience. The colors are bright, and the images look sharp and well suited for the crisper demands of Blu-ray Disc. About the only remnants of the show’s original format is the aspect ratio; the episodes are still presented in 4:3.

Because of the editing, the original “Dragon Ball Z” episode run of 291 has been downsized to about 100 “Kai” episodes. This Blu-ray set includes the first 13 episodes.

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